Saturday, 17 March 2018


8 cities with weatherproof walkways
By Josh Lew, Mother Nature Network, 15 March 2018.

Making your way through a futuristic tunnel or walking high above the ground in an enclosed walkway sounds like something out of science fiction, but these tunnels and skywalks are just a simple acknowledgement that weather can be complicated.

These enclosures are usually built to keep people comfortable despite the outside temperature. The most expansive climate-controlled pedestrian networks are in places with cold winters, like Calgary, or hot summers, like Houston. Most are located in downtown areas where workers welcome the chance to grab lunch without donning thermal underwear or arriving at an appointment without having to change a sweat-soaked shirt. The top image shows a segment of Toronto's PATH system.

Check out these cities where you can walk long distances without going outside.

1. Minneapolis-Saint Paul Skyways

Photo: Jim Winstead Jr./Wikimedia Commons

Both of the downtown districts of the Twin Cities have skyway systems. They consist of a network of enclosed pedestrian bridges that connect buildings, which are open to the public on the "skyway level." The Minneapolis Skyway stretches for more than nine miles. Though it's mainly used by people working downtown, the Skyway is open on the weekend for convention-goers, sports fans and diners. Saint Paul’s Skyway, which is five miles long in total, is open from 6 a.m. to midnight daily.

Both these Minnesota cities are known for their cold winters, so the covered, climate-controlled bridges allow people to move through downtown without having to bundle up. There are even apartment complexes connected to the Skyway, so downtown dwellers never have to go outside if they don’t want to. Meanwhile, the campus of the University of Minnesota has about six miles of tunnels and interior walkways that help students and staff move from building to building without going outside.

2. Chicago Pedway

Photo: John Greenfield/Wikimedia Commons

Chicago is another Midwestern city that has taken steps to make wintertime walking more pleasant. The Chicago Pedway stretches underground for about five miles through the city’s downtown core. The system began in the 1950s as a way for people to walk between different subway lines without going outside. It has expanded over the decades and now connects many of the buildings in the Loop area.

Though the Pedway keeps people out of the elements during the notorious Chicago winters, users complain about issues like inconsistent signage, the fact that some tunnels don't actually connect to the main network, and a seeming lack of security in some areas. High traffic tunnels generally have signage, however, and there are various maps and apps to help people unfamiliar with the network.

3. Houston's downtown tunnels

Photo: Ed Schipul/Flickr

Begun nearly 90 years ago, Houston’s tunnel network has expanded over the decades and now connects 90-plus city blocks with passageways that stretch for about seven miles through the downtown area. Most of the tunnels are 20 feet below the surface, and some are connected to above-ground skywalks that run between buildings. Pedestrians can access the tunnel network by using escalators, elevators and stairways at street level. Most of these access points are inside buildings.

Unfortunately for night owls, this isn't a 24-hour system. Most of the tunnels are open only from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The passageways do, however, include businesses such as restaurants, banks, newsstands, barber shops and business services like copy centers. Most major buildings in downtown Houston are open to the public at the tunnel level, and the city has an interactive map to help those who are unfamiliar with the network find their way.

4. Calgary Plus 15

Photo: John Vetterli/Flickr

Calgary’s Plus 15 (or +15) is a system of pedestrian bridges between downtown buildings. Its unusual name comes from the height of the climate-controlled walkways above street level. Some of the skywalks have more than one level and are referred to according to their height (+30 and +45, for example). The Plus 15 stretches for about 10 miles in a 50-block area within the city’s core.

Some detractors have complained that the network has ruined the street level atmosphere because shops, restaurants and service providers are located inside the skywalks, not on the street. Proponents, however, usually point to the weather. Calgary occasionally benefits from warm Chinook winds during the winter, but each year has an average of 22 days when the temperature dips to minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 20 C) or lower. People point to features like the Plus 15 as reasons why Calgary is often listed as one of the world’s most livable cities.

5. PATH Toronto

Photo: paul (dex)/Wikimedia Commons

Toronto’s climate controlled pedestrian system dates to the early 1900s. The earliest tunnel is still used now as part of the 19-mile Downtown Toronto PATH network. When PATH really started to develop, in the 1960s and ‘70s, it became a place for smaller retailers and businesses to remain downtown as more and more skyscrapers and office space was developed.

PATH is sometimes considered a shopping complex. It is the "largest underground shopping center in the world" according to the Guinness Book of World Records. In addition to roughly 4 million square feet of retail space, PATH connects major tourist sites like the CN Tower and the Aquarium of Canada.

6. Edmonton Pedway

Photo: Kurt Bauschardt/Flickr

Like Calgary, Edmonton is a Canadian plains city that's frequently hit with Arctic-like conditions. Also, like its Albertan sister, it has climate-controlled walkways in its downtown core. Edmonton’s skywalks are supplemented with a network of tunnels. When both these types of passageways, which are together known as the Edmonton Pedway, are connected, they stretch for over eight miles.

The Edmonton Pedway began when the city created an underground light rail system. The subterranean walkways initially connected the stations to downtown buildings. They continued to expand over the years and now include pedestrian bridges between some buildings. Despite the common complaint about skyway and tunnel cities - that the network robs downtown of its street life - most Edmonton residents admit that they use the system regularly to avoid weather, easily access the subway and avoid vehicle traffic.

7. Montreal Underground City

Photo: Deror_avi/Wikimedia Commons

Montreal’s Underground City, also known as RESO, includes retail space and tunnels that connect to the city’s Metro system. Despite its name, many access points and even some indoor sections are actually located at ground level. Regardless of whether this is an "underground city" or just an "interior city," the ability to walk through downtown and to public transit without stepping outside is attractive in a place where snow cover usually lasts from early December through March.

The Underground City is shaped roughly like a U, with two north-south routes connected by an east-west axis. Some 500,000 people, on average, use the tunnels daily. There are more than 100 access points, not including subway station entrances. These are not the only tunnels in the city. McGill University and Universite de Montreal also have their own, separate tunnel networks that allow students to stay out of the elements while heading to classes during the winter.

8. Des Moines Skywalk

Photo: Dsmspence/Wikimedia Commons

Des Moines is the largest city in Iowa. Its downtown features a network of skyways, called Skywalks, that stretch for about four miles. This system was built in the 1970s. It was meant to protect employees of downtown businesses from having to deal with cold weather and to keep businesses from following the trend of moving to cheaper suburban office spaces instead of staying in the core of the city.

The Skywalk is open on the weekends, but because it's mainly used by office workers, it's not crowded on the weekends. Also, many of the restaurants and retailers located within the system are closed on Saturday and Sunday. However, the elevated walkways can be a convenient way to access places like Wells Fargo Arena, the Iowa Events Center and other events and convention facilities in Des Moines.

Top image: Toronto Skywalk, a segment of PATH Toronto. Credit: Tom Page/Flickr.

[Source: Mother Nature Network. Some image added.]

Friday, 16 March 2018


10 Most Controversial Crowdfunding Projects
By Ben Gazur,
Listverse, 16 March 2018.

Crowdfunding has been one of the great success stories of the Internet. Various websites allow creators to show their inventions to the world, and people who want to see them become reality can pledge money to support them. People who otherwise would have no access to funding can make their dreams reality.

Unfortunately, dreams are sometimes unrealistic. You may be able to create a slick video of your product, but the product itself may be trickier to make. Here are 10 projects that sought crowdfunding but perhaps should have stayed on the drawing board.

10. Triton

When the Triton breathing apparatus was launched on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo, it attracted nearly US$900,000 in support from investors. Where most underwater breathing apparatuses require bulky tanks of gas to keep the diver alive, the Triton was little more than a face mask.

The two small arms of the Triton were said to remove the oxygen from water, working like a fish’s gills. It would allow users to dive to up 5 meters (15 ft) and provide oxygen for 45 minutes at a time. No wonder people were excited.

But problems soon emerged. The claims made for the device struck people as unbelievable. The amount of oxygen dissolved in water is relatively low. To extract enough for a human to breathe would require the Triton to pump around 2 liters (0.5 gal) of water per second, assuming that it could extract all the oxygen available.

To pump that amount of water would take a lot of power. But luckily, the Triton claimed to have a microbattery that was 30 times smaller than competitors and charged 1,000 times as quickly. You might think that the invention of this wonder battery would be enough to change the world, but as yet, it has not appeared.

Triton refunded the money put up by supporters in early 2016. But they relaunched immediately and raised almost US$300,000 of new money while promising to ship the Triton by the end of the year.[1] As of March 2018, the Triton has yet to appear on the market.

9. Solar Roadways

Solar roadways are going to change the world, at least according to their inventor. By replacing asphalt roads with solar panels, you would generate energy, create jobs, melt snow, make roads safer, and make them easier to repair. Since Solar Roadways launched their campaign on Indiegogo, they have raised over US$2.2 million in investments. Who wouldn’t want a world where roads produce clean energy?

We might all want it, but it is unlikely to happen soon. Perhaps the greatest problem is with how solar panels collect energy. By using tilted surfaces, they can maximize the amount of energy they collect. Flat road surfaces are not optimal for collecting solar power. Also, even a fine layer of dust or dirt on a solar panel will reduce its efficiency and roads are not the cleanest of places.

The first installation of the solar roadway did not work well, with several of the panels breaking when placed in a pedestrian area. Despite the criticism that has been leveled against solar roadways, they have won several prizes for their design and funding.[2]

8. The Dragonfly Futurefon

The Dragonfly Futurefon was supposed to be a single device that met all your computational needs. The Dragonfly had a unique folding structure that allowed it to be a laptop, phone, and tablet all at once. Doing everything while looking very cool, it raised over US$700,000 in funding.

The creator of the Dragonfly had been pitching a device with two screens for several years. When the Dragonfly was put on Indiegogo, people pointed out the flaws in its design. The very complexity that made it unique, along with its high-tech specifications, would make it expensive to produce.[3]

Alas, the product that was to be everything came to nothing. Investors have received nothing for their money. The Indiegogo campaign has not been updated since 2016, and the website is apparently sending collection agencies after the creators of the Dragonfly.

7. Zano

Zano was a small drone that promised to change the way people took pictures and videos. By promising to allow users to control it with their phones, the creators raised over £2.2 million on Kickstarter. The huge public interest in the drone shot expectations through the roof, only to have them come crashing down. The result was so catastrophic that Kickstarter hired an investigative journalist to find out what had gone wrong with the Zano.

With 12,000 customers waiting for their product, the team used the raised money to hire more staff and increase their production capabilities. Changes required to the Zano increased its time until delivery, and the company struggled to get the Zano to do one of the most impressive things it promised - track and follow the user.

The drone was only able to stay aloft for a few minutes at a time. To release more funds, a small batch of Zano drones was shipped. One user described it as “a continual nightmare of mega-underperformance.”

Zano went into liquidation, and the creators have been banned by Kickstarter from ever starting a new project.[4]

6. Logbar Ring

Controlling things just by gesturing at them seems like something from a fairy-tale book. When Logbar promised to deliver a ring that would allow users to control lights, televisions, and other pieces of tech, they raised US$880,000 in backing.

Despite the exciting nature of the product, some people were immediately skeptical of the company’s claims. Gizmodo published an article pointing out just how hard it would be to shrink the required technology into a ring as well as the limitations of wearing it. Every time you did anything that involved water (e.g. washing your hands), you would have to remove the ring. Still, hopes were high.

When backers received their rings, they discovered a number of problems. One scathing review has been watched over two million times on YouTube. The ring was mocked for being too large. To use the ring, it had to be linked to your phone and you had to keep the app open there. The gestures that the ring detects were only picked up around 5 percent of the time.[5]

5. Coolest Cooler

How much would you pay for a drink cooler to take on a picnic? When the Coolest cooler was put on Kickstarter, they raised US$13 million. In terms of total investment, the Coolest cooler became one of the most successful crowdfunding projects of all time. The Coolest promised to have not only a cooler but also a blender to crush ice, a water-resistant speaker, LED lights, a bottle opener, and a host of other things.

According to the campaign’s FAQ page, the initial suggested date for delivery of orders was February 2015. But this was pushed back to July when the first orders were shipped. After two years, however, only around a third of backers had received their coolers, and 36,000 people were feeling decidedly cool about the Coolest as they waited patiently for theirs to arrive.

The Coolest is now on sale in stores. The owner says that they are using the income from these sales to fund the production of units to provide for their original backers.[6]

4. WaterSeer

Providing clean and safe drinking water is a major problem in many parts of the world. When the WaterSeer promised to easily pull water from the air, Internet backers funded the idea to the tune of over US$330,000.

The WaterSeer claimed to work by simply condensing water vapor from the air. Everyone has experienced droplets forming on a cold drink on a hot day, and the WaterSeer is supposed to work on the same principle. When warm air meets a cool surface, water in the air turns to a liquid.

Unfortunately, there appear to be some problems with the physics. The makers claimed that a single device could draw up to 40 liters (11 gal) of water from the air. But in warm, dry climates, the amount of water vapor in the air is limited. So the device would have to force huge amounts of air through the underground chamber, limiting the amount of time that the air can be cooled inside to release the water.[7]

It also requires that the part buried underground is colder than the outside air, which only occurs for around half the day in most places. While you cannot beat thermodynamics, there may be ways to improve the efficiency of the WaterSeer.

3. Air Umbrella


Rain is a nuisance. While the umbrella is a simple solution for keeping dry, wouldn’t it be better if it used jets of air to blast the raindrops away from you? The air umbrella raised US$102,000 to produce their “invisible umbrella.” It seems like a simple idea and design, so users must have had high hopes for delivery.

Some people were skeptical about the product. The technical details were thin, and the charge of the umbrella lasted just 15 or 30 minutes, depending on design. Also, there would be the issue of shooting people beside you with both air and water as you walked along, probably not making you many friends on a busy street.

The air umbrella never shipped. Despite the inventors promising refunds, comments are still appearing on Kickstarter from investors looking for their money back.[8]

2. Laser Razor

The Skarp Laser Razor was supposed to take the pain out of shaving. By using lasers to slice through hairs, these razors would leave the skin free of the irritation that blades usually cause.

The company’s original attempt at crowdfunding raised US$4 million on Kickstarter but was suspended from the site because the prototype did not work. Once the campaign was removed from Kickstarter, the creators went to Indiegogo and raised US$500,000.

The razor worked by shining laser light through a fiber. Wherever a hair touched the fiber, enough light leaked out to cut through the hair. Versions demonstrated publicly have struggled to cut hairs efficiently. The product can only cut a few hairs at a time and not very close to the skin.[9]

The projected shipping date of December 2016 went by without backers receiving their razors. The creators are still updating their Indiegogo site, though no release date is available yet.

1. UC3 Nautilus

Photo credit: Frumperino

The UC3 Nautilus was a 17.8-meter-long (58 ft) submarine build by a collection of Danish rocket enthusiasts called Copenhagen Suborbitals. When their submarine needed expensive repairs, they put their project on Indiegogo to look for funding. They failed to reach their goal, but the submarine was relaunched.

The Nautilus was transferred to a different group to separate ownership from Copenhagen Suborbitals. But it was eventually passed to Peter Madsen, who had built the Nautilus. In late 2017, the Nautilus was reported to have sunk, with Madsen rescued from the water and later blaming a problem with the ballast tank.[10]

What was not known at the time was that Kim Wall, a journalist, had been aboard. Madsen claimed that he had dropped Wall off before the submarine sank. Later, he claimed that she had suffered an accident on board and he had dumped her body at sea. Two weeks later, Wall’s dismembered body was discovered with stab wounds. Madsen has been charged with murder and is awaiting trial.

Top image: UC3 Nautilus. Credit: Sonny W./Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0.

[Source: Listverse. Top image added.]

Thursday, 15 March 2018


10 Schemes to Shame People Into Being Better Humans
By Karl Smallwood,
Toptenz, 13 March 2018.

Shame is a powerful emotion, a fact a number of enterprising businesses and government entities have taken full advantage of over the years in an attempt to curtail obnoxious and inconsiderate behavior. Join us as we chronicle some of the more amusing examples we could find of people weaponizing shame to make the world a marginally better place for the rest of us.

10. Cinema Ninjas

Few things are more infuriating than trying to watch a film while some tool stares at 3 inches of glowing plastic while loudly talking in a tone of voice that screams “My head yearns for a solid, well-placed slap.” After realizing that polite notices and silent, disapproving looks from other cinema patrons simply wasn’t cutting it when it came to curtailing instances of this kind of behavior, London’s Prince Charles Cinema decided that the logical next step to improve the cinema-going experience for the public was ninjas.

Specifically, the cinema gathered up a bunch of volunteers, dressed them all up in form-fitting black bodysuits and gave them permission to walk up to anyone they observed being inconsiderate during a movie and scare the living crap out of them. The idea being that the mild shock and burning shame that comes with having a ninja burst from the shadows just to silently slap your phone out of your hand would be enough to stop all but the most obnoxious or unruly customer…and it freaking worked. As effective as the scheme was, we still think the cinema should have doubled down and hired a second group of ninjas to scare the first group so that they could film it and put it on YouTube.

9. Traffic Mimes

Imagine for a second that instead of living in a world where you’d simply be fined for being a bad driver, you instead had to worry about an omnipresent sentinel of justice silently mocking your inability to be a productive, non-stupid member of society. For citizens in several major South American cities, this bizarre scenario was a reality thanks to officials having the idea to try and reduce instances of poor or inconsiderate driving by simply paying mimes to point and laugh at bad drivers.

Amazingly, in cities where this scheme was implemented, officials saw a noticeable reduction in the amount of bad drivers on roads where mimes were tasked with silently dunking on anyone they saw flouting the law. Proof, if it was ever needed, that mimes are a necessary evil we must allow to continue existing so long as they keep using their powers for good, and not to trap people inside of tiny invisible boxes.

8. Hello Kitty armbands


In 2007, Thai officials in Bangkok, frustrated by police officers not responding to or learning from internal behind-closed-doors punishment for breaking rules, decided to try a more visual approach to punitive measures against officers committing minor infractions. By which we mean they made them wear hot pink armbands with Hello Kitty on them.

Designed to quite literally shame officers into bettering themselves, and to remind them that they should be more disciplined when on duty, the armbands were noted as being for minor offenses only, with more serious infractions being dealt with via more traditional means. However, a Thai official did explain that officers wearing them would be forbidden from disclosing what exactly they did wrong. The reasoning behind this being that the public would be forced to come to their own conclusions about what the officer’s infraction was, and you just know most members of the public would assume it was something toilet-related.

7. Lunk Alarms

If you’ve ever been to the gym, you’ve no doubt witnessed an exceptionally large, fridge-shaped man loudly lifting heavy weights, which he then dropped while screaming like his colon was full of snakes. Planet Fitness didn’t like this and let it be known via a series of ads (see above) that it was the official position of the company that such behavior was off-putting, obnoxious, and kind of rude.

To prevent it, the company introduced what it dubbed “lunk alarms,” essentially loud alarms designed to blare a piercingly loud siren whenever a person drops a weight or grunts in an excessively loud manner. In response to being told that their loud, aggressive posturing was intimidating to fellow gym users and that they should try to maybe cut it out, the kind of men being mocked by Fitness Planet of course responded by being loud and overly aggressive about the whole thing.

Dozens of blog posts were written following the introduction of the alarms by bodybuilding enthusiasts, most of which posed the same rhetorical question to readers: “Why would Planet Fitness want to make their gyms less appealing to people who work out the most?” You know, even though the purpose of the alarms wasn’t to do that; it was to shame people into being more mindful of the fact they’re not the only ones using the gym. Gee, it’s almost like these guys don’t like being told that nobody but them cares about how much weight they can lift.

6. DNA Profiling


It’s probably not all that controversial to suggest that people who think dropping cigarette butts on the ground is okay should have some kind of wild animal swung at their face at tremendous speed. While this would certainly be a fitting punishment for habitual butt-droppers, most cities tend to make do with a small fine - a punishment officials in Hong Kong thought wasn’t nearly Black Mirror-y enough.

So, instead of fining citizens leaving spent butts on the ground or something boring like that, authorities began picking them up, analyzing the DNA on them, and then using this to create reconstructed images of the smoker’s face. This reconstructed image was then displayed on on digital billboards throughout the city. While admittedly not perfect, we can only hope at least one smoker saw their own face staring back at them from a billboard with a sign below it saying they suck and decided to just up and quit because smoking isn’t worth being shamed by Skynet’s granddaddy.

5. Snidely Whiplash

In Spain, following a massive influx of people defaulting on debts, debt collectors wanting to get paid hatched a rather novel solution to solve the age-old problem of people deciding that they simply didn’t want to pay their bills: dressing like Snidely Whiplash and following them until they pay up.

Thought up by El Cobrador del Frac (quite literally, “The Debt Collector in Top Hat and Tails”), the company boasts an impressive 70% success rate, which they attribute directly to the fact all of their workers dress like idiots. While most people working for the company choose to dress in the company’s standard uniform of a tophat and tails, others enjoy hounding debtors dressed like clowns and matadors.

As honorable as they are ridiculous looking, the company refuses to accept contracts seeking payments from, as they put it, “cash-strapped individuals,” instead preferring to use their power to shame and embarrass established professionals and businesses with the money to pay their debts but believe their wealth should allow them to skirt the law. El Cobrador del Frac are so well-known in Spain that debt collectors usually don’t have to say anything to get debtors to pay up, with most preferring to simply follow their target silently every day until they get so annoyed about having Dracula or Superman follow them they pay up out of sheer embarrassment.

4. Poo Patrol


Owning a dog is a big responsibility, and along with ensuring that your furry friend is kept fed, healthy, and receives regular belly rubs, you are generally expected to also clean up their poop. It’s not pretty, but it has to be done, and most responsible dog owners know it’s a small price to pay to enjoy the company of a creature that adores you unconditionally.

After noticing that one too many dog owners were ignoring this smelly, but integral aspect of dog ownership, Camden council in London enacted a scheme to have every piece of dog poop found in a public parks sprayed bright pink. Almost overnight, instances of dog-fouling throughout Camden dropped by upwards of 50%, whereas in other English towns and cities local councils reported that similar schemes saw as much as a 75% reduction in the amount of poop being found in public parks. Officials would later theorize that the low-cost poo patrols seemed to work so well because dog owners seeing the patches of pink-tinged poop felt ashamed to add to the problem and, as a result, cleaned up after their damn dogs who, we should clarify, are all very good boys who are in no way at fault.

3. Naughty tourists


Keen to present itself in a positive light on the world stage, China has a rather harsh and draconian policy when it comes to Chinese tourists. Simply put, if a Chinese national does anything to embarrass the country as a tourist in a foreign nation, they are publicly named and shamed throughout China and put on a big list maintained by the Chinese tourism authority that prevents them from leaving the country until they learn to not be a be a big ol’ swaggering wang.

The scheme was introduced a few years after the country enacted a so-called “tourism law” broadly designed to punish Chinese citizens who ignore or otherwise disrespect local customs and laws while traveling abroad. Since we’re talking about China here, the public was of course made aware of this law via a series of commercials depicting “bad” pandas urinating in public. The Chinese tourism authority also encouraged Chinese citizens abroad who witnessed unruly behavior from their countrymen to report them to facilitate their shaming process, meaning China officially encourages shame snitching!

2. The Tuba of Justice

In 2015 a legendary hero named Matt Buck heard about something that made his blood boil: that the freaking KKK were marching through Columbia, South Carolina. Morally offended that a bunch of societal crotch stains were able to walk through his town without being mocked, Buck grabbed his old sousaphone and drove to their location intent on remedying that.

Upon spotting the telltale awkward gait of an overweight racist, Buck began following the rally slowly playing an old marching bassline he recalled from his time in college. The bassline, it should be noted, is mostly famous today as that song Stewie from Family Guy plays while following fat guys around. After noticing he’d started to get under the KKK’s skin, Buck mixed it up and began playing a mournful rendition of “Ride of the Valkyries,” a nod to The Blues Brothers, in which the song is used to mock a bunch of Nazis. Although his counterprotest lasted only a few minutes, Buck was rightly called an American hero by every news website in the world that covered his march.

1. Wanksy

Artists like Banksy have shown us that art is a powerful tool that, in the right hands, can turn a mirror to society and force us to confront uncomfortable truths we’d otherwise like to ignore. Which is all well and good, but what about if you’re an artist who wants to confront a more innocuous problem like, say, potholes?

Well, you could always do what one anonymous artist from the UK did and fix the problem not with biting, satirical murals but crudely drawn penises. Known only as Wanksy, the artist’s only stated goal is quite simply to draw massive penises around every pothole in the country to shame or embarrass local councils into fixing the problem. Although local councils struck by Wanksy categorically deny that the large penises mysteriously appearing all over their roads had anything to do with their sudden decision to fix them at that exact moment, the artist remains unconvinced and is confident that they will eventually be able to fill every pothole in the United Kingdom. As of 2018 that goal is apparently still on-going, and if you’re at all curious about where Wanksy has struck recently, you can follow his (or her) adventures via Facebook.

Top image: Wanksy. Credit: Wanksy - Road Artist/Facebook.

[Source: Toptenz. Top image added.]

Wednesday, 14 March 2018


As money and trading have become more sophisticated over time, we’ve run into some economic bumps in the road, called bubbles. Bubbles are also known as Economic Bubbles or Asset Bubbles, and they are situations where an asset is at a price range that strongly exceeds the asset’s intrinsic value. What causes bubbles? What are the factors that drive bubbles? What are the major bubbles in history? How do we identify bubbles? These questions are addressed in the following infographic by Cyberius.

[Post Source: Cyberius.]

Tuesday, 13 March 2018


15 of the most striking crater lakes on Earth
By Catie Leary,
Mother Nature Network, 8 March 2018.

While a few of these natural wonders formed as a result of meteors raining down through our atmosphere, many more were skillfully crafted by the volcanic hands of our own Mother Earth. From the active hot spots of Iceland and Indonesia to the now-extinct volcanic relics of millennia long past, these dramatic depressions provide an invaluable peek into the geological history of our planet.

1. Crater Lake, Mount Mazama, Oregon, USA

Photo: WolfmanSF/Wikimedia Commons

Arguably the most iconic caldera lake in the United States, this natural wonder is the main attraction in the appropriately titled Crater Lake National Park. The 2,148-foot-deep lake was formed around 5,667 B.C. after the eruption and collapse of Mount Mazama.

Before its destruction, the stratovolcano was regarded by the local Klamath Native American tribe to be the god of the underworld, known as Llao. The collapse of the mountain was witnessed by the Klamaths, who recorded it as a great battle between Llao and their sky god, Skell.

2. Blue Fire Crater, Kawah Ijen Volcano, Indonesia

Photo: Павел Бондарчук/Wikimedia Commons

Don't let the beautiful mint green hue of this crater lake deceive you. The picturesque Kawah Ijen is actually filled with sulphuric acid, and it lays claims to being the largest highly acidic lake on Earth, according to the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program. With all that sulphur washing up on the shore, it also the home of an active sulphur mine. It's common to see miners hand-carrying large baskets full of bright yellow chunks of solid sulphur uphill from the lake's shore.

The crater has become a popular tourist destination in recent years, thanks in part to global publicity generated around its famous blue fire, which is the result of sulphuric gas igniting as it escapes cracks in the ground.

3. Kaali Lake, Saaremaa, Estonia

Photo: Kaspars Priede/Wikimedia Commons

Some people might call this sublime natural wonder a pond rather than a lake, but regardless of semantics, it's easy to understand why this tree-sheltered circular depression would play such a huge part in the local Estonian mythology. The lake, along with its eight sibling craters, are the result of a violent meteor impact that is generally agreed to have occurred between 4,000 and 7,600 years ago. The energy of the impact is believed to been brutal, and has even been compared to the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

4. Mount Katmai, Alaska

Photo: Budd Christman/NOAA/Wikimedia Commons

This remote crater lake situated in the caldera of a 6,716-foot-high stratovolcano is found in southern Alaska's Katmai National Park and Preserve. Measuring about 6.3 miles in diameter, the Mount Katmai caldera was formed in 1912 after the first-time eruption of the nearby Novarupta volcano.

5. Rano Kau, Easter Island

Photo: Rivi/Wikimedia Commons

While most people associate Easter Island with its iconic moai head statues, there are plenty other things to explore on the island. One such site is Rano Kau, an extinct volcano that is home to a crater lake that lays claim to being one of the only natural bodies of fresh water found on the island. The world heritage site is contained within the Rapa Nui National Park alongside the ruins of an ancient ceremonial village known as Orongo.

One interesting yet depressing fact to know is that the last wild toromiro tree (a species endemic to the island that was almost completely eradicated by the 17th century) was chopped down on the crater's inner slope in 1960.

6. Okama Lake, Mount Zao, Honshū, Japan

Photo: Crown of Lenten rose/Wikimedia Commons

The bright turquoise hue seen in the photo above is just one of many colors the water takes on at Okama Lake, which is also known as the "Five Color Pond." Formed by a complex volcanic eruption in the 18th century, this natural treasure of Japan measures about 1,200 feet in diameter and 200 feet in depth.

7. Lake Tritriva, Vàkinankàratra, Madagascar

Photo: Bernard Gagnon/Wikimedia Commons

Located 30 minutes outside of the city of Antsirabe, this small yet breathtaking volcanic lake is surrounded by steep cliff walls of gneiss rock. While it's possible to swim in the lake, the water is cold and very, very deep - over 160 meters deep, to be exact. To understand the scale of that measurement, check out this video of a man bungee jumping off a 160-meter-high bridge.

8. Segara Anak, Mount Rinjani, Lombok, Indonesia

Photo: NeilsPhotography/Flickr

This beautiful crescent-shaped lake is what remains after a violent eruption destroyed the mountain in 1257 A.D. The eruption is estimated to have measured a whopping 7 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index, meaning it would have been one the strongest volcanic eruptions to occur in the last few millennia. Some scientists speculate that the enormous eruption might have been one of the triggers of the Little Ice Age, a period of cool climate cooling lasting between the 16th and 19th centuries.

Today, Segara Anak, which means "child of the sea," is a popular destination for camping, swimming and religious pilgrimages.

9. Kerid, Grímsnes, Iceland

Photo: Milan Nykodym/Flickr

Iceland is full of surreal, otherworldly sites, and this beautiful crater in the country's Western Volcanic Zone is definitely one you shouldn't miss. Known as "Kerið" in Icelandic, this shallow, mineral-rich lake is surrounded by steep red volcanic rock walls sparsely covered in moss and other vegetation. While the caldera itself is about 55 meters deep, the actual water depth fluctuates between 7-14 meters depending on rainfall amounts.

The best way to see Kerid is to travel along a popular tourist route called the Golden Circle, a 300-kilometer loop that covers the most amazing natural sites in southern Iceland.

10. Heaven Lake, Baekdu Mountain, China and North Korea

Photo: Bdpmax/Wikimedia Commons

Situated on the border between China and North Korea, this pristine, precipitation-fed lake was created around 969 A.D. when a major eruption formed a caldera atop Baekdu Mountain.

There are many legends regarding the lake that persist to this day. For one, the late Kim Jong-il claimed that he was born on the mountain near the lake. Upon his death in December 2011, the North Korean news media reported that as he died, the lake ice cracked "so loud, it seemed to shake the Heavens and the Earth." Additionally, the lake is rumored to be the home of the Tianchi Monster, which some locals have described as having a human-like head, an unusually long neck and smooth, grey skin.

11. Kelimutu, Flores, Indonesia

Photo: Michael Day/Flickr

There are three volcanic lakes found on Kelimutu - the image above shows Tiwu Ko'o Fai Nuwa Muri (Lake of Young Men and Maidens) and Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched Lake), which are separated by a single crater wall. The other is called Tiwu Ata Bupu (Lake of Old People)

What's extra interesting about this lake trio is that they are different colors despite being on the crest of the same volcano. The color changes are attributed to chemical reactions between lake minerals and changing volcanic gases.

12. Öskjuvatn Lake, Víti crater, Askja, Iceland

Photo: Pintafontes/Flickr

Does this environment looks like something out of a science-fiction movie? If so, you're not the only one to think that! NASA once trained its astronauts in this remote, otherworldly landscape to prepare them for the lunar missions of the Apollo space program.

Today, the mineral-rich, sulphurous waters of Öskjuvatn are experiencing a warming period. While in the past the lake's surface generally stayed frozen until June or July, it was discovered in April 2012 that the lake's ice had already melted as a result of increased geothermal activity.

While it's possible to swim in the lake, carbon dioxide can accumulate just above the surface of the water, creating a dangerous situation for swimmers.

13. Pingualuit Crater, Ungava Peninsula, Quebec, Canada


Formerly known as the Chubb Crater, Pingualuit is a relatively young impact crater, geologically speaking. The meteor impact that formed it is estimated to have occurred about 1.4 million years ago (give or take 100,000 years), which puts it firmly in the Pleistocene epoch.

Surrounded by a desolate, tundra landscape, the lake is one of the deepest lakes in North America, as well as one of the purest and clearest freshwater lakes in the world. A secchi disc, an object used to measure water transparency, can be seen as far down as 35 meters below the surface.

14. Quilotoa, Andes mountains, Ecuador

Photo: Annom/Wikimedia Commons

Formed after a catastrophic volcanic eruption about 800 years ago, this watery caldera is well on its way to becoming a prime tourist destination. The turquoise lake at the center of the crater is well worth the drive and hike, though due to the acidity of the lake, a celebratory swim would be out of the question. Regardless, the view from along the rim is truly a sight to behold!

15. Lonar Lake, Buldhana district, Maharashtra, India

Photo: Praxsans/Wikimedia Commons

While it doesn't look like two lakes, Lonar Lake sort of is. Both saline and alkaline in nature, Lonar Lake is home variety of plant and animal life. Indeed, the area is so rich in wildlife that there were efforts to have the lake declared a protected wetland in 1999. Indeed, between its dual nature and the fact that it's an ideal spot for scientists to study impact craters similar to those on Mars and the moon, Lonar Lake is a mysterious but marvelous crater lake.

Top image: A panoramic photo of Crater Lake, Mount Mazama, Oregon, USA. Credit: Arcataroger/Wikimedia Commons.

[Source: Mother Nature Network. Some images added.]